We know Danny Granger hopes to build his own "batcave" soon, but I'm thinking Dark Knight nickname might be needed after seeing this picture which accomanied this article on Danny's basketball camp in Albuquerque, NM. Sounds like the kids and parents alike can't get enough of Danny. And it looks like Danny can't get enough of Batman.
Bruno's latest Caught in the Web blog focuses on the incredible change of fortunes (literally) created by the Pacers' latest offseason moves which will allow the front office to actually look at free agents next offseason. Larry Bird lays out the thinking.
"Really, the main concern here was changing the culture, which we're doing. Another was to try to keep the core group together and have flexibility to go out and get players you think can fill needs for you. Being up against the luxury tax really limited what we could do. Jermaine was a heck of a player when he was on the court but he also took about 28 percent of our cap. In our situation, he wasn't playing a lot of games and when you miss, adding Jamaal (Tinsley), $27 million of a $65 million cap, we probably ended up where we should've."
Bruno also references these comments from Ian Thomsen in SI's Inside the NBA. I heard Thomsen on local radio last week and was incredibly complimentary of the Pacers. The main criticism I usually hear about the Pacers' moves is that it leaves them without an All-Star quality player and you can't win a championship without at least one or two top-level talents. The Pacers have never said they're done. This is a process that will take some time. Plus, who says Danny Granger or another young players won't develop into that All-Star caliber talent needed to lead a championship team some day. Back to Homsen's comments, these are his thoughts on the Pacers slipping into the playoffs next year.
Indiana Pacers. They won 36 games last season amid Jermaine O'Neal's injuries as coach Jim O'Brien and assistant Dick Harter were installing their new offense and defense, respectively. Team president Larry Bird has already turned O'Neal into T.J. Ford, Rasho Nesterovic and rookie Roy Hibbert, which -- along with the draft-day trade that included Jarrett Jack -- fills big needs at point guard and center. The improved Pacers will enter camp with a perimeter-based team more suited to O'Brien's unusual tastes. Figuring that every Eastern Conference playoff team will be .500 or better next season, based on the improvements made already, I'm giving the restructured Pacers a slight edge over the perennially young Hawks.
Finally, Team USA put the clamps on Team Canada in the second half last night, to run away and win 120-65. Loved how they played Chris Paul and Deron Williams together.